Monthly Thrift Tip // Scrutinize

In April's Newsletter (be sure to sign up!), the second thrift tip was mentioned.  This post on Scrutinizing gives you some handy tips to keep in mind on your thrifting adventures.  Wanna contribute? Share your thrifty tips & finds with Five Sixteenths through a guest post!  Read the guidelines here & shoot me an email!

If you are an avid thrifter, putting things back after you've filled your cart may be hard for you.  It's hard for me to put down something that I know is awesome.

Lest we end up on an episode of hoarders, there's something we need to talk about: Do You Need It?

When I go through a thrift store, I look for the familiar things I like to collect.  This includes train cases & bags & suitcases, gnomes & other knick knacks, vintage bedding, clothes & shoes.  Those are pretty broad categories, right?  More than asking the crucial 'do I need it?' question, I ask myself these questions when looking at an item:

Is it unique? // If it's something I haven't seen before it gets automatically put in the I must buy it category.  For example, the suitcase set below has been something I've been searching for for a while.  I'd seen them on etsy & around the web but I'd never discovered a set myself.  I paid a bit more for the set, but I realized that my hunt for them was well worth the price tag.  They were super unique & something I'd never seen before in my thrifting trips.  If it's something that is super common & you may be able to find it cheaper you probably don't need it.

How much is it? // So it's unique but making sure the item is worth the price is important.  Consider how much you've paid for similar items before.  Those suitcases were $35 for the 3 (I guess that's a good price but it was a bit more than I wanted to pay).  Since they were unique & I hadn't seen them before in my own hunt I bought them.  I am also on the hunt for train cases because they can carry & store a load of things.  The first one I bought (the orange one below) was around $5.  The pink one was $9 while we were in Michigan.  I'd seen other unique colored ones for upwards of $15 and if you check out etsy you'll be guaranteed to pay a lot for a cool color.  (I am still on the hunt for a white one!)  Since I got a bright orange one for so cheap I wasn't too willing to go much higher on another one, so $9 was around the right price + the $9 one had a tray, something I'd been looking for in another case.  I'd also found a smaller overnight suitcase for around $3.  Unless this suitcase is crazy unique, I am not willing to pay too much more than I've paid before.

Quality Evaluation // Evaluate the smell, the condition, etc & compare it to the price.  So the set of sheets is lovely but the flat sheet has a horrible stain: probably a no go.  Are you using it as sheets or for fabric: maybe a go.  Make sure the price reflects the condition.  I usually use sheets for sheets although there has been the occasional curtain made, so I evaluate sheets on their intended purpose.  As for those suitcases above, the outer one is a bit more sun damaged & is missing a zipper pull, the inside suitcases were in good condition & honestly I'd probably use those more for weekend trips (see the next tip) so I thought the over all quality was good for the price (though I've never encountered a set before so I don't really know what a good price is..)

Will it be used? // Sometimes it would be cool just to have a whole bunch of things that are awesome!  Unfortunately usually we don't have room for all of these things.  When checking out those suitcases above, I evaluated the quality & then thought will I use these? Since I do like to go on little weekend trips to visit friends or family, the smaller better quality inside cases would get more use.  The same with train cases: I will probably use the one with the tray more & it doubles as a display piece.  The orange one can be used for decorative storage in a craft room I hope to eventually have!

After going through all of these questions, I then decide if it's the right piece for me.  I've learned that thrifting starts out as a past time but if you get serious about it you may end up under a pile of stuff.  Once you've refined your taste make sure you scrutinize & are picking up the best quality stuff for your collections.

These tips also go for things you are looking for.  Need a side table that you don't want to pay a gillion dollars for?  Keep an eye out on your thrifting adventures & evaluate it with the tips above.

check out more thrift tips here & don't forget about the newsletter!

What do you collect? How do you make sure you arrive home with quality pieces?

1 comment:

  1. so clearly i am thrifting inept. i look at this and i think they are cute, but what in god's green earth would i do with them? i guess maybe it's b/c our house is pretty modern in our decorating, so it wouldn't really go.

    AAAALSOOOO, when i walk into my thrift store, i get a blank stare and never find a thing. lol!!


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